Sacked NHS worker claims 'silence deal': Executive investigating Wessex computer scheme prohibited from NHS for two years
Wednesday 07 July 1993
Rosemary Storrs, former Information Technology director at Wessex Regional Health Authority, claimed that she was asked to leave in October 1992 and offered a pounds 78,000 settlement if she agreed not to work full-time in the NHS for two years. She was not given any explanation for her dismissal.
Ms Storrs was brought into the authority to investigate the circumstances surrounding the collapse in 1990 of a computer scheme. Secret district auditor reports uncovered by the Independent in an investigation with Computer Weekly earlier this year showed how large amounts - up to pounds 63m - had been lost. The House of Commons Public Accounts Committee (PAC) published these reports during a special hearing in May.
Wessex offered individuals closely associated with the venture well-paid consultancy work after leaving.
Ms Storrs was given a pounds 400-a-day consultancy. Her predecessor, Harry Tuffill, left the authority in 1990 and was given a six-month consultancy contract. The District Auditor later criticised him for interfering in the purchase of a computer which lost Wessex at least pounds 2m despite clear contractual prohibitions on involvement with the purchase. .
The former regional general manager, John Hoare, was given a 'special' assignment for 10 months after he left in 1989. MPs were told that Mr Hoare, despite being blamed for the failure of the computer scheme, was not dismissed from his post, but was given pounds 119,940 in compensation on taking early retirement.
After her appointment, Ms Storrs pursued computer contractors for compensation. She was one of the few officers in Wessex to emerge from the scandal with any credit.
She took one computer consultant to court for repayment of pounds 5.5m but was asked to leave before the case was finished. Wessex has said that the legal action is no longer being taken.
As the Independent has disclosed, many senior officers including Sir Robin Buchanan, the present authority chairman, were involved in the original negotiations with this contractor. Some officers suspected Ms Storrs - with no good grounds - of leaking information about the computer scheme to the press.
She decided to reveal details of the 'onerous and unreasonable' two-year ban, because she believes that it is against the spirit of the Secretary of State for Health, Virginia Bottomley's, intention of creating an atmosphere of openness in the NHS.
Ms Storrs said she did not make the details of her contract public until now because after her dismissal from Wessex she had been working as a consultant to the authority and 'it would not have been professional to talk about my former employer while under such a contract'.
Wessex insists this sort of clause is 'perfectly commonplace'. The Department of Health said yesterday: 'Wessex region has conceded arrangements for severance payments were made without due authority.'
It added that although it was not consulted about the ban it believes that it was 'not unreasonable'.
- 1 British tourists 'murdered' in Thailand: Pair's bloodied bodies found naked on Koh Tao beach
- 2 Vivienne Westwood says 'Yes' to Scottish Independence by declaring: 'I hate England'
- 3 Welcome to Cameroon, where drinking Baileys can lead to imprisonment
- 4 Lego breaks out of the toy box and heads for the gallery
- 5 Vogue under fire for 'Big Booty' article
British tourists 'murdered' in Thailand: Pair's bloodied bodies found naked on Koh Tao beach
Jihadi John': MI5 may have identified Isis militant who killed David Haines but options limited
Vivienne Westwood says 'Yes' to Scottish Independence by declaring: 'I hate England'
David Haines beheading: David Cameron says Britain will hunt down Isis 'monsters' shown in video murdering aid worker
Piers Morgan attempts to save the Union by promising to go back to the US if Scotland votes 'No' to independence
Daniele Watts: Django Unchained actress detained by Los Angeles police after being mistaken for a prostitute
The political class is doing what Hitler couldn’t – destroying Britain
Scottish independence: Nationalist leader Jim Sillars threatens pro-union companies with 'day of reckoning' after independence
Scottish independence: Yes campaign feels the heat as Alex Salmond's NHS claims come under furious attack
£23m Birmingham cycle scheme is attacked by Tory councillor for not catering to the elderly
Salmond accused of laughing off national debt with ‘what are they going to do: invade?’ joke
£400000 Per Annum: The Green Recruitment Company: Job Title: Energy Markets An...
£30000 - £35000 Per Annum Plus excellent benefits: Clearwater People Solutions...
£22000 - £23000 per annum: Randstad Education Bristol: We are currently recrui...
£35000 - £40000 Per Annum: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd: We are currently r...